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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Seven suspected zama zamas arrested in Germiston

The suspected illegal miners noticed the law enforcement officials and opened fire towards the officers.


Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) officers have arrested seven suspected illegal miners during a multidisciplinary operation in Germiston.

It is understood the zama zamas were handcuffed on Tuesday morning in Primrose.

EMPD spokesperson Kelebogile Thepa said Rapid Tactical Response Unit Officers, in conjunction with the South African Police Service (Saps) Illegal Mining Unit, had conducted an operation when they discovered illegal miners.

Shootout

“The law enforcers proceeded to a scrapyard on the corner of Main Reef and Johann Rissik Roads, and upon their arrival, the suspects noticed the officers and opened fire towards the officers. During the shootout, the highly skilled officers shot six suspects, disarming them of their weapons and arrested one  other male suspect who attempted to flee the scene.

“The suspects, who are between the ages of 27 and 33 years, were transported to the nearest hospital for medical attention,” Thepa said.

ALSO READ: Eight bodies of suspected zama zamas found in Robertville

Firearms

Thepa added the law enforcement officials recovered a number of weapons.

“Among the weapons recovered were a brown double-barrel shotgun with intact serial numbers, a black 12-gauge shotgun with intact serial numbers, a silver 9mm Luger with intact serial numbers, a silver special 38- 9mm revolver with intact serial numbers, and a black Taurus 9mm handgun with defaced serial numbers, as well as an undisclosed number of live ammunition.

“All seven suspects have been arrested and marched to Germiston police station, facing charges of possession of illegal firearms, live ammunition, and attempted murder. They are expected to appear at the Germiston Magistrate’s Court soon,” Thepa said.

Dead zama zamas

Last month, at least eight bodies suspected to be those of zama zamas were found in a veld in Robertville, Florida.

Police spokesperson Colonel Mavela Masondo said community members alerted officers about the bodies.

“Police were alerted … about two people who were lying in an open veld in Robertville, Florida. Upon arrival at the scene, police officers, including members of Johannesburg K9, conducted a search in the area. A total of eight bodies, with gunshot wounds, were discovered in an open veld.”

Masondo said the victims were certified dead at the scene but the motive could not be confirmed.

ALSO READ: ‘Intensify fight against zama zamas to protect electricity infrastructure’ – City Power